Thursday, November 8, 2018

Bunches of Berries in Bars

One of the fantastic things about our move is that I found a great wholesale fruit and vegetable source. I admit, typing that out it sounds lame. I'm okay with that though because this awesome place will have avocados by the case, 48 for $37.50, blueberries in 9 ounce packages 12 for $7-10, 12 ounce packages of raspberries 14 for $14, 10 artichokes for $8,  organic packs of produce that end up being $1 a pound. It's amazing and awesome. That's how these bars came about. We love fresh berries and were eating them by the handful. The kids were taking 14 ounce packs of raspberries for lunch.  I purchased 28 packs. Yes 28. In the end I had 3 packs that needed to be used up. We ate a bunch. I still have blueberries in my fridge that I can freeze for later also.

 These bars though, they are so easy to make with fresh or frozen berries. You can do one type or several types of berries. The buttery shortbread like crumble on top and one bottom so good. You can see in the blueberry bar picture above I made extra crumble. The raspberry bars I made the amount that is listed in the recipe below. When working with berries I adjust any sweetener accordingly. Sometimes berries are sweeter than other times. I also add lemon juice, and zest if available to the berries it really brightens them up. For the blueberries I used maple syrup as my sweetener, which also works well.
Raspberry Beret... the kind you find in a secondhand store.
There are several recipes for bars online, this one was tweaked to our tastes. The recipe is very forgiving so make it your own! You can even use frozen berries. They may need to be strained a bit if you thaw them but I think the juices will seep into the crust and it will be fine. You can add a little more flour, or some cornstarch or arrowroot powder (a teaspoon per batch) if they are extra juicy.
Raspberries are probably my favorite berry. Then blackberries, and blueberries. Okay strawberries also out of the more mainstream berries.  I'll eat any of them really. Fresh is my preferred way to have berries , sometimes with cream and shaved chocolate truffles. These bars or a crumble would probably be the next best, followed by pie. Some compotes are good with ice cream though. What is your favorite way to eat berries?
For raspberries, I just stir them in with the sugar and and juice. For strawberries slice them up before using them in this recipe.
Oh this yummy buttery, shortbread like crumble. It's so good. I bet it would be good just baked alone on a cookie sheet in crumbles them sprinkled on ice cream.
Bake until golden brown, and let it cool unless you want to scoop it into a bowl and top it with ice cream. The bars will not hold their shape unless cooled first.
I think this recipe would be perfect for cherry rhubarb bars also. I'm going to give it a try and let you know.
All the yummy fresh produce!
Berries, cream, and shaved chocolate truffle. So yum.

Pick Your Berry Bars

12 big bars or 24 smaller bars

4-5 cups of berries *
1/4-1/2 cup of sugar, honey, or maple syrup
2 tablespoons of flour
2-3 tablespoons of lemon juice

2 cups all purpose flour
2 and 1/4 cup rolled oats, I use quick cooking 
1 cup loosely packed brown sugar
1 cup plus 2 tablespoons melted butter, unsalted
pinch of salt, unless using salted butter 
1-2 teaspoons of zest from lemon (divided, optional)*

2 tablespoons cold butter
  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees while working on the rest of the recipe.
  2. Toss berries with flour, them stir in sugar, lemon juice,  half of the lemon zest (optional). Set aside. 
  3. In a separate bowl mix 2 cups of flour, oats, brown sugar, melted butter,  and 1/2 of the lemon zest (optional) in a bowl. The mixture will hold together but still be crumbly and dry.
  4. Place 2/3 of the crumble mixture into a 9x13 inch baking dish. Press the mixture in to the bottom of the pan until it's packed.
  5. Pour the berry mixture evenly over the crumble in the pan, reserving 1/2 a cup of the berries.
  6. Sprinkle the remaining crumble mixture over the berries. I like to squeeze portions of the mixture into pea sized pieces over the top.
  7. Dot with the reserved berries (optional, I like the way it looks with some berries scattered on top.)
  8. Cut the cold butter into small pieces and sprinkle them over the bars.
  9. Bake the bars for 30-40 minutes until golden brown and bubbly in some areas.
  10. Cool completely before cutting into bars.

* Lemon zest in the bar/crumble portion, and in the berry mixture is optional.
*4-5 cups of berries depending on how big they are, smaller blueberries pack into a cup tighter than the larger berries. If using strawberries slice them first.

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